From the Braver Institute
School will be starting soon for some and for others it has already begun. The thought of the beginning of the school year still hangs over my head like some kind cerebral rain cloud. School is the killer of summer, yet no charges are ever brought against this murderer of an entire season.
One might argue that the end of summer and the beginning of the school year is merely coincidental and based completely on the calendar, but in my younger days I would have argued that we couldn’t know for sure until we try a couple years without school. School has been here for so long that maybe there is no one alive who can remember a time without school and that it really was the thing that controlled the seasons.
Even though summer lasts until the middle of September according to the calendar, the first day of school effectively hammers the last nail in its coffin.
As a young boy I could not help but look at school as the thing that took away the very love of my life, summer. Thinking about it that way I now find no surprise that I had such disdain for every waking moment I was forced to attend school. If I hadn’t been made to go to school I would have grown up living in the exceedingly happy world of a blissfully ignorant idiot. Instead I have grown up living in the exceedingly misanthropic world of an educated idiot.
You would think that school would no longer have an impact on my life but it does. It continues to mock me as I mourn the end of summer. School has always hated me, and I it. School taunts me vicariously through my daughters. I have to make sure that they are awake, dressed, fed and transported to school on time. And while the early days of the school year may be pleasant and warm, each lunch I pack is a reminder that summer is in its death throes.
Even in the intervening years between the end of my education and the beginning of my children’s, school somehow managed to cast its dark shadow over the joy of summer. In those days I spent a lot of time on the roads, and as anyone who drives for a living or has a commute involving a stretch of highway can tell you, the day when the school buses return to the road is a dreaded one indeed.
I drove throughout the central Upper Peninsula, from north to south and back again every weekday. In the summer it was mostly clear sailing, but when school started school buses were like giant yellow envoys of doom, with their flashing red lights warning all traffic in the immediate area that it needs to stop. Your forward progress must cease. You must wait here until I say it is okay to move again. If I don’t pull off to the shoulder and let you by you can rest assured that you will be stopping again right after you get up to highway speed. Subliminally, these yellow monsters with their glowing red eyes were telling me that summer was bleeding to death and there was nothing that could be done to stop it.
While I am not sitting here wishing away the youth of my daughters I cannot help but think that once they are out of school I may have a chance of living in an age where summer is more directly controlled by how the air feels. Summer may actually begin when the weather gets warm and it may end when it gets cool. Unlikely as it may be, summer in this region could potentially last from the end of March to the beginning of November.
Then again I could simply start living a life of endless summer where I find myself migrating to warmer climates as the seasons change. I could buy an RV and live the life of a sun-chasing vagabond, travelling to wherever the temperatures suit me best.
That would be living the dream for me.
But I suspect what will really happen is that I will end up continuing my own education, thus insuring that summer continues to be controlled by the beginning of school.
— — —
Waye Braver can be contacted on Facebook or by email at waye@ braver insti tute.com. Visit the Braver Institute at www.braverinsitute.com.